Kang’s having a bit of a moment. The Marvel madman recently stepped beyond his status as Avengers headache to headline his own mini-series. And now he’s starring in an extra-sized book teasing new Marvel Universe stories for 2022.
I say ‘teasing’ rather than ‘previewing’ because Marvel has produced similar books in the past, and they promise much, but don’t always deliver – anyone remember Marvel #1000? Or.. oh, I’ve forgotten. But I know I’ve reviewed several, and they rarely dazzle. Happily, Timeless doesn’t stretch to the 80pp length of previous offerings, coming in at half the page count, so it’s easier to stay awake, and there’s a built-in get-out so far as threads not being followed up on goes. Because this is a Kang story, so alternate timelines are a given.
Jed MacKay’s tale is narrated by an elderly academic, who receives an unexpected visit one night.
And so it is that superhuman expert Anatoly Petrov becomes Kang’s companion as he slides up and down the timeline, basically showing off.
Kang’s fun is interrupted when a ‘timequake’ occurs. Parts of the prime timeline are changing, and the cause is apparent.
Ah, Dr Doom, another villain desperately in need of page time…
Solicitations led me to expect short previews of future stories. Apart from a line nodding towards the upcoming Reckoning War in Fantastic Four, all we get is this.
Kang’s encounter with a rather different Dr Doom is fun, ending in a terrific ‘who’s Kang trying to kid?’ moment. Too much of the rest of the issue, though, is Kang posturing or fighting a mammoth, the kind of thing that saw me give up on the aforementioned mini-series after a single issue. Truth be told, if he’s not fighting the good guys, Kang isn’t that interesting, he’s just another Marvel megalomanic, so similar to Dr Doom, Rama-Tut and Immortus that writers quickly decided they were probably the same character.
A bunch of chaps handle the visuals and pencillers Kev Walker, Greg Land and Mark Bagley, with inkers Jay Leisten and Andrew Hennessy, do a more than decent job; the storytelling is good, the figurework strong and ideas conveyed effectively. The most effective moment is our first glimpse of New Doom, though a very Tony Stark-looking shirtless Kang also has appeal. Marte Gracia’s colours are thoughtful, though a little muted for my taste, while Ariana Maher’s fonts are well chosen and applied.
Kael Ngu’s cover is a winner, promising much. Sadly, the comic doesn’t live up to it.